Californians have long been committed to recycling. It is second nature to us to recycle paper, plastic, glass, and cans on a daily basis. Metal, wood, used oil, and household hazardous waste are frequent recyclables, too.
But what happens to the concrete when that building down the street is torn down? And where do old roads go when you see asphalt pavement being pulled up?
Demolishing infrastructure to repair and replace roads and buildings generates large quantities of construction wastes. Many California sand and gravel operators help keep these materials out of landfills by annually crushing millions of tons of used concrete and asphalt pavement into Construction Aggregates.
In 2010, 3,152,610 tons of concrete and 12,566,348 tons of asphalt were recycled in California, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
These recycled aggregates are in great demand by contractors, cities, counties, park districts, and home owners for meeting our infrastructure needs, and for such uses as building new roads, parking lots, landscaping, drainage around underground pipe, erosion control, base materials for footings and foundations, and in new concrete and asphalt.
Recycled aggregates originate from de-molished infrastructure. Yet it is estimated that if all concrete and asphalt rubble were recycled, it would be only 5% of what is needed in the construction industry.